Rapping in Good Company
One of the many interesting things about Mallorca is the incredible amount of stories we find here. Or personal histories, I should say.
Granted, everyone in the world has a fascinating background story; just being born and making it to adulthood is a wonder in itself.
However, there are stories that seem to stand out just that little bit more. Take Nawid Company, owner of Imocash in El Sindicat, for example. What, is the company named Imocash AND Nawid Company? I ask.
No. Company is Nawid’s surname.
“Yes, it’s a funny story,” Iranian-born Company, who laughs often throughout our talk, says.
“Traditionally, Iranians or Persians didn’t have surnames. We were just ‘son of…’ and ‘daughter of…’. The Shah of Persia wanted the country to become more modern and westernised, so he decided that all citizens should have surnames. My great grandfather was a big trader in ships travelling between India and Persia, and also he acted like a kind of bank in the region. The government asked him to pick out a surname for the family. So because his company name was Farsi Trading Company Limited, he chose the word Company.”
And so, Company Entertainment was born. This memorable moniker was the company name of Company’s company while he was still living in Germany, making rap music into the most popular art form in that country – as well as France! (Mais naturellement!)
But hang on. An Iranian German named Company, revolutionising rap?
“Yes, and hip-hop,” he nods.
I settle into my chair, agog. This is going to be an entertaining day in el Sindicat.
“Yes, I started my first company when I was 18 or 19. I was a booking agent for musicians and DJs. I have a degree in economics, but worked as an agent even while I was studying for it. So I organised clubs, events, parties, that kind of thing, in Hanover. It was fun! I loved the club stuff back in the day.”
Company, who is in his 30s, says “back in the day” a lot.
By the time Company was 23, he was booking the big DJs of the time, some straight from the USA, and organising venues all over Europe. But although successful, he always needed money up front for artists and to pay deposits for venues. It could get hairy.
I don’t want to have a job
He asked a friend running a music video production company for money, but instead he was offered a job. Even then, young Company was money wise.
“I don’t want to have a job!” he decided there and then, and asked his friend:
“We have our own products to sell, can’t you buy shares in the company instead?”
He got what he wanted.
In 2011 when attending a music conference in Amsterdam he met another company director who invited him to come to his office in Palma and take a look.
Company, who by this time was starting to tire somewhat of all the late nights and temperamental artists, thought it sounded interesting.
“I need to take the next step forward,” he said to himself.
So November 1st 2011 Herr Company moved to Palma armed with a lot of know-how, leaving Company Entertainment in Germany.
“But that agency is still running, doing up to 400 concerts a year! Do you know the Brit Awards? Well, we were given the German equivalent of that. Contemporary rap is HUGE in Germany. We made CNN, Capone, Norega, The Far Side, Rat Man, Exhibit, Ref Camar…”
He must have sensed how little I understand of this (zero) because he changes the subject to something more oldie-friendly.
“ I found out something interesting which maybe explains why rap is so huge in Germany and France: Most of the rap artists there are immigrants. Even the ones that are huge now, you know, when we started with them, they were delivering pizza! Most of the rappers from back in the day are still in the industry. But looking after them was actually like kindergarten. After a while I needed to use my brain. You know, I like to learn. After six months of doing something, I already feel it’s old. And yet I worked for 17 years in the events industry… It was time for a big change. ”
So what would be more natural than to move to Mallorca?
At first the company, the excellently named Next Level, was a 22 square metre office with two people.
“We developed digital portals and selling mobiles to 14 countries. We became one of the biggest content providers in Europe.”
I want to be the person who opens the bank on Sunday
The Next Level segued into IMOCASH (I make Online Cash), an affiliate marketing company which just keeps on growing and now employs 14 people in an office of 250 square metres.
“We re-launched in 2015 and with the new technology that just came on the market, things became really intense. We had 300 million clicks a month!”
Then the market changed and new regulations came in.
“Suddenly I found myself overworking again, just like when I was herding the rappers. I was working only online, which I didn’t like. I realised I wanted to work with products and live people again. I thought, why don’t we set up the next Next Level affiliate. And I did! Now I’m selling paintball gear! The shop has 250 000 visits per month.”
Company seems to find it impossible not to work hard.
“Yes, I want to be ‘the person who opens the bank on Sunday.’ Someone reliable.”
Company’s mother was relieved when her son left the music agency business.
“She said: ‘Now you can go and work for an insurance company.’ Ha! No way. No, I like working with digital misfits. Everyone here is a weirdo. We can wear shorts and t-shirts to work. And I love Mallorca – it really is my home. For the first time in my life, I don’t feel like an immigrant,” Company, who speaks German, Farsi, English and Spanish, beams.
“I think Mallorca is on the cusp of going in a new direction. There are lots of different cultures here; it’s technologically advanced, you can make a big impact here with a small team. You can get everything here. It really is the best place in Europe! Back in the day, I used to be a city boy, now I’m much more in contact with nature. When I’m in Palma I’m in working mode; at home with my two dogs I’m in country mode. ”
Company thinks the future looks bright.
“Every day a new shop opens online and the quality of products is just getting better and better. I have no regrets – I wouldn’t change anything! Of course I have made mistakes in my life, but they made me the person I am now. I’m happy for other people’s success. But if you ask me what my ultimate goal is – I still have no clue!”
Company laughs again. He seems assured with his position in the world and is open to change and the vicissitudes of fate. Just like back in the day.